The Great British Bump-Off #1
It's an all-new Agatha Christie-style murder mystery set in the world of English competitive baking! When she enters her country's most beloved baking competition, Shauna Wickles goal is to delight the judges, charm the nation, and make a few friends along the way. But when a fellow contestant is poisoned, it falls to her to apprehend the culprit while avoiding premature elimination from the UK Bakery Tent . . . and being the poisoner's next victim!
The Great British Bump-Off brings together cozy Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries and The Great British Bake-Off (GBBO for short, or The Great British Baking Show for American viewers): a combination so seemingly obvious that it’s a wonder it’s never been done and readers will be delighted someone finally has. In a medium dominated by superhero stories, cozy murder mysteries and stories about baking can both be a novelty and a comic that combines the two genres even more so—the comic more than delivers on its central premise and does so with buckets of humor and charm. Bump-Off’s writer John Allison, cartoonist Max Sarin, and letterer Jim Campbell previously worked together on the critically-acclaimed series Giant Days, working together like a well-oiled machine. The colorist, Sammy Borras, is a beautiful addition.
The murder mystery at the center of The Great British Bump-Off is its least developed element thus far, so it’s difficult to tell how well it will hang together. There are crumbs of a good mystery here, but the bulk of the issue is character-driven. As anyone familiar with Giant Days and its three protagonists might expect, Bump-Off’s central trio – Shauna, Jill, and Sunil – are instantly endearing. Allison’s side-splitting dialogue and Sarin’s lively artwork make the characters almost leap off the page. As with GBBO, Bump-Off – set at a television baking competition called UK Baking Tent – has a similarly hefty cast. Nonetheless, Sarin manages to make every character’s design feel distinct. Early on, there’s also a group shot showing all twelve bakers with their names and day jobs, which is extremely helpful, as is putting their first initials on all of their aprons.
Bump-Off’s nods to its namesake go far beyond the punny title. Borras’ base color palette of beiges, soft blues, and summer greens scream GBBO, while the simplified cel-shading and splashes of bright pinks, greens, and purples make Sarin’s artwork pop. Jill Thompson’s variant cover, which also acts as an image on the opening page, depicts a bloody chocolate cake with a skull in the middle, evoking both the watercolor cake illustrations in Bake-Off and cozy murder mystery book covers. The comic’s bunting-strewn tent setting is unmistakably Bake-Off’s, but the comic’s judges are the real cherry on top of this satirical cake. One judge, a gruff, bearded veteran named Pete Holyrood, is Bake-Off’s judge Paul Hollywood cranked up to 11. The comic’s second judge is Fanny Cradock, a celebrity cook so old that she’s been dead since 1994 – a nod to both of Bake-Off’s female judges (Mary Berry and her replacement Pru Leith) being in their 80s. For anyone familiar with Bake-Off, this series is a riot so far.
The Great British Bump-Off #1 combines two great tentpoles of British media - Agatha Christie mysteries and Great British Bake-Off - wit, panache, and even some ganache. Its delicious first issue is sure to leave you craving more.
The Great British Bump-Off #1: The Proof is in the Pudding
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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